The first edition of gentleman’s mag Playboy to be printed in Ukraine since the Russian invasion back in February 2022 features a survivor of an assassination attempt as its cover star, complete with eyepatch and metal bikini.
Model, mum-of-three and TV presenter Iryna Bilotserkovets survived a pro-Russian assassination attempt in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv at the beginning of the invasion that aimed to kill her politician husband who is an aide to Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv.
Bilotserkovets has since become a symbol of resistance in the Ukraine and now works with Ukraine’s cultural forces to put on events for troops.
Iryna Bilotserkovets’ cover for Playboy’s‘Women Stay Strong’ edition
Playboy’s publisher said proceeds from the magazine’s sale would be donated to emergency medical equipment for the Ukrainian army.
Bilotserkovets’ shoot also comes amid reports that Ukrainian women had been flashing their breasts at passing helicopter crews to help boost morale among the troops fighting the invading Russians.
Bilotserkovets holds her Playboy cover
Bilotserkovets was driving home through a wealthy Kyiv neighbourhood with her three kids when she was hit by bullets in the assassination attempt.
She had to undergo four operations in a Berlin hospital and was left with a missing eye, broken jaw, and scars over her body.
In the accompanying interview for Playboy, the model mum recalled seeing herself for the first time post the life-saving surgery.
“[I had] an eye missing, tubes sticking out everywhere, hair shaved off from surgery,” she said.
“Stitches, scars, wounds everywhere; I was just Frankenstein’s monster. My jaw had shattered, like a twig.
“I no longer have a pretty face, but the rest of my body is beautiful.
“It was not a question of preserving my beauty; it was a question of whether I would live or not. Doctors in Ukraine said I was probably going to die. I didn’t agree, and neither did my husband,” she said.
Playboy Ukraine said in a statement that the model was a heroine in its ‘Women Stay Strong’ edition which looks at the “resilience of Ukrainian women who have been injured during the war but who have not lost their thirst for life”.
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